The Hazards of a
Photo Society Photographer...

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

Reality Check

  • Broken Nose

    2
  • Chased by Wild Elephant

    3
  • Venomous Bites

    9
  • Strongyloide Invasion

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

    1
  • Lost at Sea

    1
  • Tear Gassed

    4
  • Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

    1
  • Wound Infection

    30
  • Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

    1
  • Punched in Face

    1
  • Random Assault

    6
  • Robbed

    13
  • Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

    2
  • Scaffolding Collapse

    1
  • Severe Diarrhea

    90
  • Blinded by Wasps

    1
  • Imprisoned

    3
  • Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

    1
  • Amoebic Dysentery

    20
  • Malaria

    5
  • Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

    29
  • Giardia

    8
  • Broken Bones

    4
  • Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

    1
  • Broken Tail Bone

    1
  • Acid Dripping Caves

    1
  • Flesh Eating Parasites

    1
  • Held at Knifepoint

    1
  • Hunted with Bows and Arrows

    1
  • Threatened / Detained / Abducted

    21
  • Spitting Cobra Attacks

    1
  • Held at Gunpoint

    2
  • Broken Ribs

    6
  • Severe Insect Problems

    12
  • Temporary Blindness

    2
  • Severe Dehydration

    19
  • Dengue Fever

    1
  • Arrest or House Arrest

    33
  • Buried in Avalanche

    2
  • Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

    1
  • Plane or Helicopter Crash

    5
  • Assorted Animal Attacks

    8
  • Stoned by Religious Group

    2
  • Diagnosed PTSD

    1
  • Run Checkpoint

    13
  • Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

    1
  • Paraglider Crash

    21
  • Penis Fish

    1
  • Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

    3
  • Lost on Arctic Ice

    1
  • Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

    1
  • Car or Bus Crash

    7
  • Groped

    2
  • Stabbed

    1
  • Groped

    9
  • Falls

    12
  • Meningitis

    1
  • Beaten

    3
  • Rope Burn

    10
  • Robbed

    5
  • Fall Into Crevasse

    2
  • Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

    1
  • Dislocations

    7
  • Burns

    4
  • Viper in Camera Bag

    1
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

    1
  • Various Parasites

    16
  • Lost in Andes

    2
  • Chased by Crocodile

    1
  • Extreme Toxins

    3
  • Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

    1
  • Hypothermia

    9
  • Teargassed

    2
  • Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

    2